80% of all patients with end-stage renal disease are seniors. 70% of those must undergo regular dialysis. As more and more seniors enter nursing homes, kidney failure is a growing crisis. Nursing homes must find a way to provide dialysis to a rapidly growing population, without putting vulnerable residents at further risk.
Patients have two primary options for hemodialysis: daily treatment at home, or traveling to an outpatient dialysis center 3 days every week. For active, middle-aged dialysis patients, traveling to a dialysis center saves hours each week. 86% of patients receive this treatment.
However, outpatient dialysis clinics aren’t designed for nursing home residents. Traveling to an outside clinic is disruptive, time-consuming, and confusing. Vulnerable seniors are at higher risk of infection after contact with staff and patients outside their nursing home. When they return, infections can spread to other residents.
Traveling to a dialysis center also increases costs. In 2018, Medicare spent $49 billion on patients with end-stage renal disease, including $93,191 per patient for hemodialysis. Nursing home residents require ambulance transportation to outpatient dialysis centers three days every week, costing $411 per round trip.
Nursing homes must find a way to address the needs of a growing population in need of dialysis treatments. Providing onsite dialysis services can eliminate the cost of transportation and lower residents’ risk of contracting infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Onsite dialysis also increases the opportunity for clinical staff to maintain collaborative care relationships.
Some nursing homes have started providing onsite dialysis using the at-home, daily dialysis technology. Daily dialysis in nursing homes carries a greater risk of complications, including blood clots, aneurysms, and problems with the blood-access site. These complications mean a higher risk of hospitalization and surgery. Instead nursing homes now offer conventional dialysis onsite. Learn more about the nursing home dialysis crisis in this infographic.